The First Brecksville VA Hospital

Veterans in the Cleveland, Akron, and Canton areas had fought for over a decade for a veterans' hospital in the local area. In 1938, President Franklin Roosevelt answered their call and authorized the building of a veterans' hospital in the Cleveland area. This became the Brecksville Veterans Administration (VA) Hospital, originally located in Broadview Heights Village. It carried the name Brecksville because Brecksville and Broadview Heights shared the same Brecksville post office. The Broadview Heights Recreation Center is now at the site of the former hospital. The remnants of the old VA Hospital can still be seen in satellite photographs of the area such as the tree-lined driveway. In the midst of the Great Depression, Roosevelt was interested in projects that would create jobs and provide valuable public services as part of the New Deal. The Brecksville VA Hospital did exactly that.

The Works Progress Administration (WPA) allocated $1,090,000 for the Brecksville VA Hospital. The state of the art hospital opened in November of 1940 to great fanfare and celebration. The hospital created 150 new jobs. Although economic conditions were not as bad as in the early 1930s, Clevelanders still appreciated new opportunities in 1940.

Tuberculosis patients primarily occupied the 278 beds at the hospital. A contagious respiratory infection, tuberculosis, often shortened to TB, was a common disease prior to World War II when it was often called consumption. Fever, chills, night sweats, and loss of appetite with attendant weight loss characterize TB. However, the most dramatic symptoms are chest pain and coughing and coughing up blood in particular. Tuberculosis was also terminal. The Brecksville VA Hospital provided long-term care for TB patients, as they needed to be quarantined to prevent further spread of the illness. Doctors and nurses could only make TB patients as comfortable as possible in the absence of a cure.

Beginning in the 1960s, antibiotics were successfully used were used to treat tuberculosis. Sanatoriums and hospitals that treated TB patients were no longer necessary and began to close. Brecksville VA Hospital was one of them. It closed its doors in 1965 and its remaining patients were transferred to the new Brecksville Veterans Administration Hospital. The original facility then became the Broadview Developmental Center, a psychiatric hospital until it also closed in 1993. The City of Broadview Heights demolished most of the buildings on the old VA campus.